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After 12 years at the helm, Steven Potter set to retire from Mid-Continent Public Library

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Spending time in the stacks at Mid-Continent Public Library is nothing new for Director Steve Potter. One of his first jobs was getting books on the shelves.

Over 34 years Steven Potter went from night shifts processing new books at Mid-Continent Public Library to retiring after over a decade as its director.

The way libraries operate has changed dramatically in the decades Steve Potter has spent at Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL). Now, that chapter of his life is coming to a close.

Potter announced his retirement from the library earlier this year, citing the challenges of the pandemic in recent years, personal reasons, and a desire to step back from what can be a hectic job.

During his time at MCPL, he worked his way up from shelving books to being the director of a library system with 31 branches in three counties serving 780,000 people.

"Really any job that you can think of," he says of his roles with MCPL. "I was part of the team that converted our original card catalog to digital. And then, helped write our first website — in fact, our website was the first public library website in greater Kansas City."

Potter says what he'll miss most are the people he got to see everyday, and the fact that no two days are the same in his profession. After a few months to regroup, he'll be looking for his next challenge.

"I do feel like this is a pause on my career, and I feel like I'll be back involved in some way," says Potter. "I feel like after I've had an opportunity to stop and pause and think, and figure out what that next chapter is, then I'll do that."

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